Warns of disastrous consequencies of ME and South Asia
tensions Says Pakistan played its role in US-Taliban talks
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that it is a tragedy for the region that India has been taken over by the extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and warned global audiences that the nuclear-armed country was being run by extremists. In an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), the premier remarked that India had been taken over by an extremist ideology known as Hindutva which is inspired by the German Nazis, and its [Hindutva’s] founding fathers believed in racial supremacy. “It is a tragedy for India — and for its neighbours — that the country has been taken over by RSS, an organisation which also assassinated the great Mahatma Gandhi. A nuclear-armed country is being run by extremists, and Kashmir has been under siege for over five months,” he said. The remarks came in response to questions about tensions in South Asia and the occupation of Kashmir by Indian troops. “Just as the Nazi ideology was built on hatred for minorities, the RSS ideology is also based on hatred for Muslims and other minorities, including Christians,” PM Imran said. “I was the first leader to warn the world about what is happening in India. India has been taken over by an extremist ideology known as Hindutva. It is the ideology of RSS. The RSS, a political organisation founded in 1925, inspired by the German Nazis,” he noted. In the interview, PM Imran was also asked a series of foreign policy questions about Pakistan and the importance Islamabad attached to balancing ties with Beijing and Washington, while trying to negotiate a peace deal for war-torn Afghanistan. “It’s true that we live in a difficult neighborhood and we have to balance our actions. For instance, Saudi Arabia is one of Pakistan’s greatest friends and has always been there for us. Then we have Iran, with which we have always maintained a good relationship,” the premier said. “Therefore, a military conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be disastrous for Pakistan. We are trying our best to make sure that ties between these two countries do not deteriorate. It is a region that cannot afford another conflict,” PM Imran stressed. “Then there is Afghanistan. Pakistan is doing its best to bring peace to Afghanistan. It is a country that has suffered so much in the past 40 years. We pray that the Taliban, the Americans and the Afghan government achieve peace,” he maintained. In response to a question about the disproportionate coverage accorded to protests in Hong Kong as opposed to the siege of occupied Kashmir, PM Imran said that the tragedy of Kashmir was much greater but commercial interests are more important for western countries. “Unfortunately, commercial interests are more important for Western countries. India is a big market and that is the reason behind the lukewarm response to what is happening to some eight million people in Kashmir, as well as to minorities in India,” he noted. The premier also told DW that Germany could play a huge role in the Kashmir issue as it was the strongest country in Europe, and noted that he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose response had been to make a statement about the issue in India. “I think they are heading towards a ceasefire. We are hoping that the US-Taliban talks succeed, as we have a new government in power in Afghanistan with President Ashraf Ghani being re-elected,” PM Imran remarked when asked about the Afghan situation. “Peace in Afghanistan would open up trading opportunities in Central Asia. It [Afghanistan] would also become an economic corridor for us. If there is peace in Afghanistan, our people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, will also benefit,” he said. “Pakistan has played its part in peace talks. There was a hostage situation and with Pakistan’s efforts, two out of three Western hostages were released. So, we are doing our best with whatever influence we have,” he added.